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Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 1, 2011
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About the Author
Rebecca Hamilton is a special correspondent for The Washington Post in Sudan with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and a fellow at the New America Foundation. In 2007 she was selected as a Global Young Leader on genocide Prevention for spearheading the campaign for Harvard University to divest from companies doing business with Sudan and working with internally displaced populations in Sudan. She worked for the prosecution at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, including work on their historic Darfur cases. Currently a resident of New York, Hamilton is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School, as a former Open Society fellow.
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Top Customer Reviews
The history of the development of the movement and of events in Sudan is well told. One of Hamilton's strengths was clearly her access to political decision makers in the US, the UN and in Sudan. The book is very good at bringing out the individuals in historical events, such as the description of how Colin Powell made the genocide call, or President Bush's agreement to refer Sudan to the International Criminal Court.
There are a lot of tough subjects in the book for advocacy campaigners to mull over. One such challenge is how to sustain a mass movement which is not able to absorb detailed information about evolving events. Another subject is the costs and benefits of the international court's indictment of President Bashir, an issue referred to as justice vs. peace. Coming from a humanitarian background myself I have long thought that humanitarian costs should be added to this list.
The book points out that as a shiny new organization, one of the biggest flaws of the Save Darfur movement was its lack understanding of Sudanese politics.Read more ›
The reviewer, YUSUF KALYANGO, is an Africanist and an international media scholar. He teaches at Ohio University in the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism. He is the author of a book titled "African Media and Democratization: Public Opinion, Ownership and Rule of Law" (2011).
It is a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the US government's decision-making process on Sudan and at the genesis of the mass movement that made Darfur a domestic policy issue in America.
Hamilton challenges her former academic mentor (and Pulitzer Prize-winning author) Samantha Power's assertion that a lack of domestic political will for involvement is the barrier to stopping genocide abroad by outlining the growth and influence of the Darfur mass movement and contrasting it with outcomes - or lack thereof - on the ground in Sudan.
For those who believe that building a movement is enough - or that every action has an equal and opposite reaction in the world of international politics - this book serves as a necessary deconstruction to those notions, while also providing advocates and policymakers alike with examples of what does and does not actually create real change on the ground.
"Fighting for Darfur" is much more than a blow-by-blow account of the movement, however. Throughout the book, Hamilton incisively analyzes the options available to both activists and those in power. It is often sobering. Activists who lacked even a basic knowledge of Sudan's history and politics consistently prioritized peacekeepers over creating conditions for a political settlement that would ensure peacekeepers could actually protect civilians. In the end, they got neither.
Although Samantha Power's "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide" posited that a domestic constituency for international human rights issues could ensure their peaceful resolution, Hamilton persuasively argues that although such a constituency is necessary for bringing such conflicts to the fore, they are insufficient in world where BRIC countries and others provide alternatives to American economic and political support.
As someone who participated in the movement, this book is a painful but necessary corrective to the often blithely self-celebratory narratives that activists of all kinds tell themselves, which all but preclude the possibility of effective action in the future.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having time and energy over the past years organizing support for various causes (some successful, some much less so) I am intrigued with Rebecca Hamilton’s experience and her... Read morePublished 22 months ago by ewaffle
After reading Samantha Power's A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, one might believe that raising awareness in America would have been enough to end genocides in... Read morePublished on March 18, 2012 by Scott
Worth a read. I wrote a review for the Columbia Review of Journalism here: [...] But here are my last two sentences:
Hamilton concludes, "The tragedy of the advocacy... Read more